8 Smart Tips For Introducing New Foods To Your Child
I have invested a huge part of my life figuring this one out! No. I mean it! I’ve literally seen it all. My son’s had his phase of sugar overdrive, all time chicken urges and the unbeatable torment when he thought going without food was in vogue.
So while I fretted and pulled hair over this, I also knew this is a normal part of childhood. I told myself that just as learning alphabets wasn’t an option for him, being selective about food wasn’t either. I hence had no choice. I just had to keep trying. And gradually meal times became easier and lesser like a battleground.
It hasn’t been an easy road. I’ve toiled in the kitchen to put forward a temping meal ( BTW I couldn’t boil water pre-children) and had my kids thoughtlessly say ‘I won’t eat it!’ Ouch! Cold water in my face! Now what?
Here’s what. Hope these tips on Introducing New Foods To Your Child can ease your life out.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip #1
In an exchange with a child psychologist once I learnt, “Your child may ignore your words but will certainly recognize the emotions behind those words.” So you need to be at ease at meal times. Your anxiety over the meal can be a party spoiler and your child, whether you mention it or not, will sense the pressure you are subtly transmitting. So just relax. Worst case scenario: he won’t eat. Don’t worry. There’s always another day. Another meal.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 2#
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
This one was a great tip from jillcastle.com. Prepare yourself for rejection. You will be less disappointed. I know it hurts and you feel miserable about it, but it’s not your love your child is refusing. He’s just the food presented to him that he is refusing. What he eats and your affection for him cannot be measured on the same balancing scale!
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 3#
The Straight Face
This one really works. I don’t show any expression anymore. It’s is a usual meal and I can hope for my child to eat it as usual. Maintaining a poker face towards my child’s meal steers him towards trying it! I guess it takes some pressure off him and the curiosity gets the better of him. He may not finish the entire thing, but half the battle is won when he tastes it.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 4#
Expose Your Child To More Flavours
This is a place where I went really wrong with my first born and am still coping with a fussy eater. If he liked something, I was relieved. So I would just make it more frequently and forget that other variations or options existed.
This is a bad idea! Expose your child to as many flavours as you can. A younger child is far more accepting of flavours as opposed to older children. There is always going to be a phase in your child’s toddlerhood where he’s going to prune back on his appetite. There is going to be more of ‘No’ and more of ‘I am not hungry.’ So if your child is early on (as suited to the age) introduced to a large repertoire of food, you will have a lesser struggle when he starts to reject food later on.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 5#
Embrace The Exploring Mess
My younger one is an amazing eater. I have never overthought her meals or provided her with many options. She’s 17 months and can guide a spoon right into her mouth. She loves dunking her fingers in the curd, feeling the food with her hand, exploring textures and touching the things on her plate. I think it’s a great tactical exposure. The fascinating world of touch leads the way further to tasting. Don’t curb a child’s sense of investigation. Allow him to do it on his own.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 6#
Share Your Meals
They love it if it is on someone else’s plate! So look for opportunities wherein your child can share his meal time with other family members or friends. My younger one has always eaten with big brother. She graduated from toddler meals to regular meals cooked at home by the time she was a year old. Such a blessing! So sharing meal times with kids means that they will most likely want to taste what is on the other persons plate or in another kids lunch box. Great way to introduce new food to a child!
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 7#
Serve New Foods As Add Ons
Your child may feel pressurized or worried if he sees a huge portion of spinach on his plate! The better thing to do would be add a small spoonful on the side of another meal he is already comfortable eating. Repeat adding on a couple of times till he gets curious and decides to taste. I have never camouflaged foods. Made fancy presentations yes, but never mixed up too much. I feel the original flavour is lost and the child will never recognize the flavour as it is.
Introducing New Foods To Your Child Tip 8 #
Get Your Child To Assist
Kids love being part of the process! Assisting you in buying the ingredients, sorting them at home, a little bit of age-appropriate chopping and some cooking will get the child involved in the process. The accomplishment of then having a finished dish that he contributed towards cooking is almost always guaranteed to land in the stomach.
Food For Mommy’s Thought: “Opposition to food can’t persist if there is no opponent. In the face of a child’s refusal to eat, the best parental response is serene indifference. Parents should remind themselves: ‘I know this will pass. My child will not continue refusing to eat if I simply refuse to react.” – Karen Le Billon,